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Parties weigh effect of KMT-TPP joint ticket failure on legislative elections

11/25/2023 05:41 PM
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Legislator Liu Chao-hao (front row, second right, who recently left the DPP, and supporters arrive at the Taitung Election Commission to register his candidacy as an independent in the southeastern county on Wednesday. CNA photo Nov. 25, 2023
Legislator Liu Chao-hao (front row, second right, who recently left the DPP, and supporters arrive at the Taitung Election Commission to register his candidacy as an independent in the southeastern county on Wednesday. CNA photo Nov. 25, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's political parties are weighing the possible effects on legislative elections of a failure by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) to strike a deal for a joint presidential ticket.

Friday marked the last day of candidacy registration for both presidential and legislative elections next year.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), a total of 315 legislative candidates have registered to compete for 73 seats in the single-member districts, while 16 political parties registered their lists, with a total of 178 nominees, for 34 at-large seats.

DPP Legislator Kao Chia-yu faces the challenge of vote splitting from the progressive party within the pan-green camp led by Wu Hsin-tai. CNA photo Nov. 25, 2023
DPP Legislator Kao Chia-yu faces the challenge of vote splitting from the progressive party within the pan-green camp led by Wu Hsin-tai. CNA photo Nov. 25, 2023

There will also be three lawmakers elected by members of the Lowland Indigenous People Constituency and three by the Highland Indigenous People Constituency.

For the at-large seats, the KMT, the TPP and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) all registered to the fullest extent of 34 candidates.

Smaller parties registered modestly, with the People First Party submitting a list of 10, the New Power Party, the New Party all eight, and the Taiwan Statebuilding Party seven.

For the 73 districts around the country, the DPP nominated 69 candidates, the KMT 65, and the TPP 10, among others.

DPP party insiders told CNA the party faced an uphill battle to retain its current legislative majority.

In 10 to 15 districts, the DPP candidates are meeting fierce competition due to factors such as a division in the pro-DPP camp, notable in places like Taipei's Neihu/Nangang and Taitung County, the DPP/pro-DPP incumbents not running for re-election, as seen with Freddy Lim (林昶佐)in Taipei's Wuanhua and Kaohsiung's Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), or grudges remaining from the party primaries.

KMT Vice Presidential candidate Jaw Shau-kong (center, front row) campaigning for the party's legislative candidate Wang Hung-wei (second from the right, front row) on Saturday. CNA photo Nov. 25, 2023
KMT Vice Presidential candidate Jaw Shau-kong (center, front row) campaigning for the party's legislative candidate Wang Hung-wei (second from the right, front row) on Saturday. CNA photo Nov. 25, 2023

The breakdown of the KMT-TPP joint presidential ticket might benefit the DPP in those districts where the combined support for the KMT and the TPP is greater than that for the DPP, such as the Greater Taipei Area, according to a DPP source.

A KMT source told CNA that the breakup was expected to have little impact on the outcome in KMT or DPP safe seats.

The most affected districts will be those that the KMT has even odds of winning, the source said.

Neither the DPP nor the KMT seems to expect to achieve a majority in the legislature, with each aiming for 50 seats in the 113-member chamber.

A KMT source said there is still the possibility of the KMT and the TPP cooperating in the parliament in the future, so as long as "a total war" is not waged, the two sides can still compete under the tacit understanding of maximizing the non-DPP faction.

TPP's Tseng Ying-lee is running for the legislative seat in the first district of Kaohsiung, one of the two races outside the party's base in northern Taiwan where the party has fielded candidates, with another nominee in Taichung. CNA file photo
TPP's Tseng Ying-lee is running for the legislative seat in the first district of Kaohsiung, one of the two races outside the party's base in northern Taiwan where the party has fielded candidates, with another nominee in Taichung. CNA file photo

The TPP has only entered two races, one in Kaohsiung and one in Taichung, outside its base in northern Taiwan.

While the KMT has not nominated candidates for these two constituencies, one of the party's city councilors registered at the last minute for the seat in Kaohsiung as an independent.

The TPP's other district candidates are in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Yilan County, Kinmen County, and Lienchiang County (Matsu), where they will meet competition from both major parties. TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) younger sister Ko Mei-lan (柯美蘭) is running in Hsinchu City as an independent.

(By Lai Yu-chen, Wang Cheng-chung, Yeh Su-ping, Wang Yang-yu, Wen Kuei-hsiang, Tsai Meng-yu and Alison Hsiao)

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